Planning to start a business? Read what Bill Gates has to say about it.

Insights Success
4 min readJun 14, 2021

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” — Bill Gates

An unhappy customer teaches you a lot, be it about your products, your ability to read the customers’ needs, existing circumstances, or even one’s demeanor when handling customers. Of all people, Bill Gates’ making this statement adds further to its credence.

Bill Gates doesn’t need an introduction. For close to three decades, his company Microsoft has provided essential software to practically every other computer on the planet. This we are sure wouldn’t have been possible had he not kept his ears practically to the ground.

On why Bill Gates made such a profound statement, there could be multiple reasons and from them, learnings. We mention a few below:

A business is there to serve a client. If the former doesn’t heed to the latter’s advice and concerns, what are they there for??

Businesses exist to serve their intended and identified customers, and it is the former’s obligation to take care of the latter’s genuine concerns and needs. A business should not and must not neglect a client’s need to the extent possible. If a product or service provider does not remain attentive to client needs, where is the client to go?

It is thus the former’s most profound obligation to serve his/ her/ their customers with all their resources. If gaps still remain, a service provider ought to be upfront (though not curt) in making things clear to the client. If the former’s contention remains justifiable and true, there is every reason to believe that the client may relent, and sometimes even help the service/ product provider make essential changes and additions.

A client knows his/ her/ its business and needs. They could also be knowing that of a service/ product provider, besides the latter weak points and shortcomings.

Clients are the best judge of their circumstances which include products/ services, and other essentials that affect their work. If they remain unhappy, it could be for various reasons which could include a service provider’s faulty products/ services, shoddy client servicing, and lack of essential backup.

By being sensitive to a clients’ expectations and reason for unhappiness, a service provider may improve products, services, and experiences, and get the opportunity to deep-sell other products to the client.

That said, most clients are also aware of a service/ product provider’s shortcomings and pain points and use the same to further their causes which may be detrimental to a service/ product provider.

The client is paying you for a product and has every right to express his/ her displeasure.

Every pay-out has expectations tied to it which these days could be in the form of set KRAs. Not performing up to expectations is a sure way of inviting a client’s unhappiness which is quite natural. A client’s unhappiness could also be relative to their expectation versus what they got. In all, it could be a natural expression of a client’s feeling which nevertheless ought to be read and addressed in a rightful manner.

A client who remains unhappy could be the potential source for the entry of competition.

Competition across industries, verticals, and situations is intense these days. So intense in most cases that the client may need half an opportunity to either walk over to competition or end up creating one where the situation so demands.

Logistics is one field where competition to gain and retain clients is intense. So much so that companies are known to take over competing entities just to stave competition besides learning the latter’s secrets. It is a known fact in this industry that clients have created entities to serve their needs, in some cases being manned by the service provider’s own employees! It thus makes sense to heed a client’s words and address pain points ASAP. The outcome otherwise could be disastrous.

Unhappiness could sometimes not be with respect to your product but the extras that competition provides. By keenly observing, one can modify one’s own products and services.

SaaS probably is the best example to explain this point. Between two service providers, that which provides the same product with better add-ons and features is sure to lure and retain a client. What was earlier a Capex service has now turned revenue with the introduction of SaaS.

Incidents such as these could also be a reason for the client’s unhappiness with those who do nothing new to address a pain point. Where seen intelligently, such an event can in fact turn things for the better by focussing an enterprise’s attention on newer areas of revenue generation and growth.

In the end, the one who learns and implements survives, and grows. In that, an unhappy client could have a big role to play.




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